“It’s strange and ultimately insulting how, when someone you love dies, just expires without warning, time does not stop.”
Melody “Mel” Vaught and Sharon Kay Kisses couldn’t be any more different. Mel is the chain-smoking, binge-drinking, insanely talented life of the party, while Sharon is reserved, insecure, and often unlucky in love. They bonded over passion and art and forged a friendship and partnership that spanned over a decade.
Mel and Sharon are animators; they create adult cartoons. They endure years of doubt and obscurity, but soon their career begins to take off. As they start to settle into the ride to fame, tragedy snatches their magic carpet from beneath them.
The Animators is a story of friendship, love, passion, art, family, pain, grief, and so many other things. It has been a while since a book kept me up all night, but this one did. Once I started it, I could not put it down; I went through it in one seating. There are good quotes in the book; the one above particularly echoes some of my sentiments about the death of a loved one. The suddenness, almost rudeness of it, and the gall the rest of the world has to move on when yours has just been irrevocably shattered.
I enjoyed reading this book. The narrative is very original: it reads as though it was written by someone who knows the subjects discussed intimately. The characters are layered, complex, and amazingly consistent. Mel and Sharon’s friendship is far from ideal, but it is honest.
Kirkus Reviews writes (and I agree), “Whitaker captures the shifting dynamics between Mel and Sharon—between all the characters, really—with such precision and sharpness that it’s hard to let them go.” It’s true. I can tell you that Mel and Sharon have built apartments in my head. They are as real to me as if they were persons that I know in real life. Let me conclude with Emma Donoghue’s words on The Animators: “An engrossing, exuberant ride through all the territories of love—familial, romantic, sexual, love of friends, and, perhaps above all, white-hot passion for the art you were born to make .”
Rating: 4 Stars. Read this book.
* I got an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.